Courtney Touts Full Funding for Submarine Programs in House-Passed Omnibus
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) applauded the bipartisan passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, an omnibus spending measure that appropriates government funding for Fiscal Year 2014, by a vote of 359 to 67. The bipartisan coalition included 193 Democrats and 166 Republicans supporting the legislation, with 3 Democrats and 64 Republicans opposing it. While it locks in a lower topline than the president’s FY2014 budget request and 2013 pre-sequester funding levels, the measure includes significant additional funding for the Virginia Class Submarine Program, restoring the full two-a-year build rate for 2014 at Electric Boat in Groton after a two-year effort to reverse a proposal to eliminate a submarine from the schedule this year. It also fully supports the Ohio Replacement Program and Virginia Payload Module, important priorities for southeastern Connecticut’s defense workforce.
“The spending bill passed today in the House is a major victory for Connecticut’s defense industry and our economy as a whole,” Courtney said. “The full commitment to submarine production and development is a strong indicator of the critical role of our nation’s undersea fleet in America’s national security strategy and a reflection of the hard work done each and every day by the men and women of Electric Boat. In a tough budget climate, and with most defense programs experiencing cuts to meet reduced budget resources, the 22% increase in funding for Virginia Class submarines is a tremendous win.
“Overall, I am pleased that Congress has made this departure from the years-long trend of temporary spending measures, shutdowns, and patchwork solutions. The budget we passed in December, coupled with this spending bill, will roll back a significant amount of sequestration cuts and provide certainty and flexibility for agencies to make necessary investments in the near term. While there is still more work to be done to avoid sequestration’s indiscriminate damage in the years ahead, I hope that these bills mark a turning point for this Congress, and foreshadow a willingness to put aside partisan politics and take up the challenges facing our nation.”
Some of the highlights of the appropriations omnibus bill include:
Submarine Procurement and Development
$6.5 billion for the Virginia Class Submarine program, $1.2 billion (22%) above the budget request. The total includes:
·$3.9 billion for two 2014 submarines, $950 million above the budget request. The 2014 budget request proposed funding a second 2014 submarine by splitting the cost between the 2014 and 2015 budgets; this agreement fully funds the second 2014 submarine this year.
·$2.4 billion for procurement of two submarines in 2015 and beyond, equal to the budget request.
·$227 million for completion of prior year shipbuilding, which was not requested in the budget. Funding is meant to restore cuts to the 2013 boats caused by automatic sequestration reductions.
$59 million for continued development of the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), equal to the budget request and the House-passed level. While the Senate bill proposed eliminating funding for the program, Congressman Courtney advocated strongly against the Senate’s cut during negotiations on the Omnibus. VPM will integrate increased strike payload capacity for Tomahawk Land Attack and follow on missiles in Block V submarines (FY19-23).
$1.1 billion for continued research and development of the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP), roughly equal to the budget request. Funding for the request is split between the Advanced Submarine Systems Development line ($784.8 million) and the Advanced Nuclear Power Systems Line ($296.1 million).
- Military pension fix for disabled retirees. This exempts Chapter 61 medically retired individuals and survivor benefit plan annuitants from the military pension COLA changes made in the Bipartisan Budget Act.